The emerging global tobacco treatment workforce: characteristics of tobacco treatment specialists trained in council-accredited training programs from 2017 to 2019

Christine E. Sheffer, Abdulmohsen Al-Zalabani, Andrée Aubrey, Rasha Bader, Claribel Beltrez, Susan Bennett, Ellen Carl, Caroline Cranos, Audrey Darville, Jennifer Greyber, Maher Karam-Hage, Feras Hawari, Tresza Hutcheson, Victoria Hynes, Chris Kotsen, Frank Leone, Jamie McConaha, Heather McCary, Crystal Meade, Cara MessickSusan K. Morgan, Cindy W. Morris, Thomas Payne, Jessica Retzlaff, Wendy Santis, Etta Short, Therese Shumaker, Michael Steinberg, Ann Wendling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Tobacco use is projected to kill 1 billion people in the 21st century. Tobacco Use Disorder (TUD) is one of the most common substance use disorders in the world. Evidence-based treatment of TUD is effective, but treatment accessibility remains very low. A dearth of specially trained clinicians is a significant barrier to treatment accessibility, even within systems of care that implement brief intervention models. The treatment of TUD is becoming more complex and tailoring treatment to address new and traditional tobacco products is needed. The Council for Tobacco Treatment Training Programs (Council) is the accrediting body for Tobacco Treatment Specialist (TTS) training programs. Between 2016 and 2019, n = 7761 trainees completed Council-accredited TTS training programs. Trainees were primarily from North America (92.6%) and the Eastern Mediterranean (6.1%) and were trained via in-person group workshops in medical and academic settings. From 2016 to 2019, the number of Council-accredited training programs increased from 14 to 22 and annual number of trainees increased by 28.5%. Trainees have diverse professional backgrounds and work in diverse settings but were primarily White (69.1%) and female (78.7%) located in North America. Nearly two-thirds intended to implement tobacco treatment services in their setting; two-thirds had been providing tobacco treatment for 1 year or less; and 20% were sent to training by their employers. These findings suggest that the training programs are contributing to the development of a new workforce of TTSs as well as the development of new programmatic tobacco treatment services in diverse settings. Developing strategies to support attendance from demographically and geographically diverse professionals might increase the proportion of trainees from marginalized groups and regions of the world with significant tobacco-related inequities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2416
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


  • Evidence-based practice
  • Health care professional training
  • Smoking cessation
  • Tobacco dependence treatment


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